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NLRB Cites Boeing for Illegal South Carolina Move

Thu. April 21, 2011

In response to charges filed by the IAM, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), this week issued a blistering complaint against the Boeing Company, declaring their move to South Carolina was a violation of federal labor law and constituted illegal retaliation against IAM members employed by Boeing in the Puget Sound area.

The NLRB complaint cited repeated statements by senior Boeing executives that union members’ activity was the “overriding” factor in the decision to locate a 787 assembly line in South Carolina.

“A worker’s right to strike is a fundamental right guaranteed by the National Labor Relations Act,” said NLRB Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon, who issued the complaint against Boeing. “We also recognize the rights of employers to make business decisions based on their economic interests, but they must do so within the law.”

According to the NLRB, Boeing’s conduct was “inherently destructive” of rights guaranteed to workers. As a remedy for the violation, the Board is seeking an order requiring Boeing to operate the second 787 line, including supply lines, with IAM members in the Puget Sound.

“Boeing’s decision to build a 787 assembly line in South Carolina sent a message that Boeing workers would suffer financial harm for exercising their collective bargaining rights,” said IAM Vice President Rich Michalski. “Federal labor law is clear: it’s illegal to threaten or penalize workers who engage in concerted activity, and it’s illegal in all 50 states.”

The decision by Boeing to locate a 787 assembly line in South Carolina followed years of 787 production delays and an extraordinary round of mid-contract talks in which the IAM proposed an 11-year agreement to provide Boeing with the labor stability it claimed was necessary to keep 787 production in the Puget Sound area.

Click here to read a statement from the NLRB announcing the complaint.

Click here to view full text of the NLRB complaint.

Click here to read a summary of facts in the case.

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